Home detention for envoy over indecent assault

Mohammed Rizalman bin Ismail will be deported after completion of his home detention.
Mohammed Rizalman bin Ismail will be deported after completion of his home detention.

WELLINGTON • A disgraced Malaysian diplomat who "terrorised" and indecently assaulted a woman in New Zealand has been sentenced to nine months' home detention.

Mohammed Rizalman bin Ismail, who was a military attache at Malaysia's Wellington embassy at the time of the attack, admitted to indecent assault last November after denying initial charges of attempted rape and burglary.

Rizalman had followed Wellington woman Tania Billingsley to her home in May 2014, waited about 30 minutes outside and then entered the house and walked into her bedroom naked from the waist down.

He claimed he had stayed outside the flat initially as he was waiting for an invitation to enter, but he then had a bout of diarrhoea and defecated on Ms Billingsley's patio, reported the New Zealand Herald.

"You terrorised Ms Billingsley... She was a young woman, alone in her room, who was entitled to feel safe and secure in her bedroom," Judge David Collins told Rizalman during sentencing.

"No woman should have to endure the terrifying circumstances experienced by Ms Billingsley when you breached the sanctity of her bedroom."

Mr Collins said Rizalman's actions were premeditated, although Ms Billingsley was not touched in a sexual way and Rizalman had hoped she would agree to sex.

"You mistook a smile for a sexual advance, you deliberately followed her and waited outside her home for a long period of time," the judge said.

Rizalman is to serve nine months confined to a house but not at the embassy. He will be deported after completion of his sentence.

The case sparked a furore last year when Rizalman fled home two days after he was charged, citing diplomatic immunity. But he was eventually extradited to New Zealand.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 05, 2016, with the headline 'Home detention for envoy over indecent assault'. Print Edition | Subscribe